Alysha Sherri

Who are you?

My name is Alysha Sherri Marcantonio, I usually go by Alysha Sherri. I'm from a pretty small town in Massachusetts called Billerica, which most people have probably never heard of! I made the decision to move across the country to LA when I had just turned 18. Now I'm 23, and I'm the happiest and busiest little lady you'll ever meet! It was the best decision I ever made. I love what I do and I love where I am, and I think the only way to have that in life is to take some risks.

How did you become a makeup artist?

As a kid I was very into art; I was always an artist of some sort. I painted, I danced, I dumped glitter in my hair in the name of fashion. It was always something! There are photos of me when I was about eight years old with blue eye shadow up to my eyebrows, and red sparkly heels on. It was always in me! I used to watch my mom do her makeup every morning. She would sit on the carpet and set a mirror on the coffee table. There was just something about it that was so intriguing to me. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized people could actually do makeup for a living, and it blew my mind! I took my very first makeup class when I was 14 years old. My parents drove me to this school in South Boston called David Nicholas (DNI). I went in, met with David, and I swear my life changed from that moment on. He showed me pictures of Boy George and Rupaul and I just remember thinking, wow all of this makes so much sense to me. I was their youngest student to date. Looking back I can't even believe it, I was just a kid! But David really believed in me. He truly inspired me to be the artist I am today. I'm very thankful for him, and also for my parents. They let me be whatever I wanted to be. When I walked out of the house with lime green eye shadow and fuchsia lipstick on, they just told me to have a great day. They never told me what or who to be. I think that's essential in any artists development and success-- no limitations.

What was your dream job as a child?

Well, I was so sure I was going to be a movie star! But then I realized I had no real interest in acting. I just thought I could stand in front of a camera with a red boa on and be fabulous. So needless to say, that dream died quickly. I always knew from a very young age that I wasn't going to have a "traditional" lifestyle. I remember being little and hearing all of my girl friends talk about their dream weddings and dream wedding dresses. And I was just like, I want to drink lattes in Paris and have an apartment in London, and fly to New York to do a photo shoot! These were my childhood thoughts (my poor parents). I knew I was destined for some sort of fabulously chaotic life. I just didn't see myself taking every one else's path; going to college for years to then have a normal job and settle down shortly after was not appealing to me. I wanted to explore the world. I felt like my education was meant to be a life journey, not sitting in a building with my face in a book for 4 years. You only get one chance to live your dreams and I made a decision very early on that being an artist was the only way for me to live freely and happily.

What’s your favorite color?

Well that's forever changing! It depends on my mood really, because to me colors are so emotional. I love red lips and pale pink roses. I love burnt orange and purple in home decor. I love hair that’s so blonde it’s almost lavender. And I love rich greens in nature. I guess I love certain colors for specific things.

How would you define your style?

My style of makeup is very diverse. I have a background in not only makeup, but special effects and hair as well. I would say I mostly do a lot of beauty, commercial, and mens grooming looks. Occasionally I will get to be insanely artistic and create really elaborate looks, or create a really intricate character for film. I feel like that’s when my talent can truly shine through the most. As a makeup artist I think it’s so important to be able to do anything that’s asked of you artistically. If you’re on set and all of a sudden your director wants some blood, or an updo, or body makeup-- you have to be able to deliver! It’s so important to be a well-rounded artist. I went to two schools and still go to seminars to this day. I feel like you can always learn and evolve as an artist; you can always better your craft.

How important is make up in portrait photography?

Well for a close up beauty shot, of course it is very important. Even if the photographer is going for a really raw look, it's always good, in my opinion, to have a makeup artist there. Makeup artists are trained in different ways and we see things differently than a photographer does. When I was in training, I spent a lot of time studying bone structure and, of course, color theory. You have to know these things as an artist. A true makeup artist can add a tiny highlight on a natural/raw image and change the entire face. In portrait photography, subtle makeup goes a long way and can make all the difference.

What make up looks best in pictures?

That depends on so many things. The camera, the lighting, the model-- everything really. I think the best way to always have a beautiful image is to pay attention to the model or actor’s face. You have to work with their bone structure, their skin tone and their face shape. Unless you're doing something really avant-garde, then it's always best to really look at who you're working with and not just pile makeup on their face. I pretty much never use full coverage foundation in photos, because you always want the skin to still look like skin. Also, paying attention to the lighting you will be shooting in is so important. You can do a beautiful makeup, but it can change so much depending on the lighting.

How can a photographer help you with your job?

I always love when a photographer notices details. When photographers can tell me that a hair is out of place or that something doesn’t look right, I really appreciate that. Things that look great to the naked eye don’t always look great on the camera. I always appreciate a photographer that has a real attention to detail. I think the best shoots revolve around team work and communication. Everyone needs to work together and communicate, especially about timing. I also think it's really vital for photographers to know basic beauty knowledge. For example, what is considered natural and what is considered dramatic; the difference between dewy skin and matte skin. In my opinion, if you’re working in this industry, whether it’s print or film, it’s important to understand a bit of all departments.

Can you give us (photographers) a couple of beauty tips for a normal portrait shooting?

For me personally, I love dewy skin in a portrait image. I think a little natural glow is okay; it's very youthful and beautiful. I think sometimes photographers always want more powder and more matte! Glowy skin in the right places translates so well in photos, it just has to be done right. Also, for photographers that are maybe new to beauty shots, always pay attention to the eye lashes. It’s easy to miss, but I have seen even major beauty campaigns where you can see the difference between the real eye lashes and the fake ones. This may be a fault of the makeup artist, but you can edit it really easily in post.

This interview was originally published on


Alysha Sherri

Alysha Sherri is a Make-Up Artist from the USA.